Article By: John Varney
Creating shared strategic vision enables leadership teams to align themselves and focus their energies. This helps avoid layers of misunderstanding and blind alleys. Vision is central in the continuum from shared purpose to strategy and effective action. Developing shared vision with your leadership team and the wider organisation gives a clarity and unity that knows no equal. When people create shared vision they know what to do and how to do it.
Making Thinking Visible Gives The Immediate Benefits of:
- Engagement because participation is easy
- Healthy diversity by giving everyone a voice
- Access to a broad range of tacit and explicit knowledge by casting a wide net
- Inclusivity by providing a ‘level playing field’
- Creativity by enabling people to manipulate patterns and structures of meaning
- Ownership because outcomes are mutually developed and shared
- Clear communication because ideas are well structured and articulated
Creating Shared Strategic Vision Solutions:
- Co-designed facilitated workshops for creating shared strategic vision
- Vision building module or session as part of a broader development programme
- Senior team and executive coaching
The CEO of a UK-wide logistics business wanted to engage his leadership team in developing a shared vision. It was agreed that getting off-site for two days was a worthwhile investment. This was like Moses going to the mountains – a complete change of environment and time to reflect and to think. The LVT process took place in a series of sessions, interspersed with inputs and other activities to stimulate creativity and to build relationships. Through this holistic process the team was embracing its own development at the same time as clarifying the future it wanted to create.
The first evening people were made at home and introduced to visual thinking. Next morning the vision process began with a creative LVT session in which participants imagined what success would look like five years hence. This was articulated in a second session as their vision of the future. Later sessions explored what strategies would help realise the vision. This was rounded off in the next day. Before departure the group decided on the next steps necessary to make the vision a reality. Everything was clearly documented and the team took away hard and digital copy to facilitate further work.
The whole event increased the capacity of the team and fully engaged all team members in rising to the challenge they themselves had invented. It set them up to feed into their business plan and to design the processes that would enable them to deliver on it. They remarked upon the level of thinking and interaction between them in preparing and shaping their future. Although they had worked intensively for two days, they enjoyed developing ideas with colleagues and creating a road map to success. The event sustained the strategic energy of this particular organisation for several years.
John Varney leads on creating shared strategic vision. He is one of the originators of LVT. He has wide experience as coach and facilitator in management development, team development, organisational change, mergers and partnerships. He has over 25 years’ diverse applications of LVT at all levels, in all sectors and with organisations of all sizes. He has co-authored two LVT guidebooks. His relaxed facilitative style encourages creative interaction.
See also Strategic Vision LVT case study